Cantaloupe Granita with Mint
When treatment side effects dry out the body-and believe me, that's a fairly common occurrence- granitas come to the rescue. Granitas are similar to Italian ices in consistency, which makes them great for people with mouth sores, and melons are full of water, so they're great for rehydration. In fact, melons in any form are a wonderful source of fluids and nutrients. Eaten on an empty stomach (and that's the best way to consume them, as they can cause an awful lot of tummy rumbling when combined with other food), melons require little stomach action and go right into the small intestine, allowing quick absorption of their nutrients.
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed, plus 10 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 6 cups chopped cantaloupe
- 1/4 cup agave nectar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed
- Lime Juice
Use caution when opening the freezer door while the granita is freezing. You want to end up with this frozen delight in your belly and not on the bottom of the freezer! Pour the boiling water over the 1 cup of mint leaves, cover, and steep for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid and discard the mint leaves. Put the cantaloupe in a food processor or blender and process on high speed until smooth. Add the agave nectar, lime juice, mint infusion, and the 10 chopped mint leaves to the food processor or blender and pulse to combine. Transfer to a freezer-safe 8 by 10-inch pan with sides at least 2 inches high and freeze for 1 hour. Use a fork to rake the mixture, breaking up the frozen parts into smaller bits and pushing them toward the center, like a pile of leaves. Return the granita to the freezer and repeat the raking process twice more at 30 minute intervals until entirely frozen.
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 2 hours in the freezer Storage: Store in an airtight container in the freezer for 3 weeks.
Per Serving: Calories: 95; Total Fat: 0.3 g (0.1 g saturated, 0 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 24 g; Protein: 1 g; Fiber: 2 g; Sodium: 25 mg
Mouthwatering Watermelon Granita
- 2 cups chopped watermelon
- 2 1/2 tablespoons freshly
- Squeezed lime juice
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar
Put the watermelon in a food processor or blender and process on high speed until smooth. Add the lime juice and agave nectar to the food processor or blender and pulse to combine. Transfer to a freezer-safe 8 by 10-inch pan with sides at least 2 inches high and freeze for 1 hour. Use a fork to rake the mixture, breaking up the frozen parts into smaller chunks and pushing them toward the center like a pile of leaves. Return the granita to the freezer and repeat the raking process twice more at 30 minute intervals until entirely frozen. Variation: A fun variation on any granita is fruit drops, which I think of as a frozen version of Tootsie Pops, especially the part where you get to the sweet middle. Pour the liquid mixture into an ice cube tray, then stick a few blueberries into each of the compartments. They'll end up suspended in the middle after the liquid freezes. Put a toothpick or popsicle stick into each while they freeze and you can enjoy the fruit drops straight up, or skip the sticks and use them in beverages. Either way, these fruit drops are a treat for the eyes, and great for people with mouth sores or anyone who wants to stay hydrated.
Prep Time: 8 minutes Cook Time: 2 hours in the freezer Storage: Store in an airtight container in the freezer for 3 weeks.
Per Serving: Calories: 20; Total Fat: 0 g (0 g saturated, 0 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 7 g; Protein: 0 g; Fiber: 0 g; Sodium: 0 mg
Mediterranean Lentil Salad
I really should have called this Lentil Inside-Out Salad. Here's why: With most salads, you pour the dressing on at the end and coat the dish from the outside in. But in this salad, the lentils cool off in the fridge in a bath of dressing-in this case olive oil, vinegar, lemon, and cumin. They absorb all of this wonderful flavor, which is heightened by the addition of red bell pepper, kalamata olives, parsley, and mint.
- 1 cup dried lentils, preferably
- Le Puy green lentils, rinsed well
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
- 1 small cucumber, seeded and diced small
- 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, rinsed and sliced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 ounces organic feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
Combine the lentils, garlic, oregano, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick in a saucepan and cover with water or broth by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then cover, lower the heat, and simmer until the lentils are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the lentils thoroughly and discard the whole spices. In a separate bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin, and salt together. Toss the lentils with the vinaigrette, then refrigerate for 20 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper, cucumber, olives, mint, and parsley and combine, then do a FASS check-and season as needed with another pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, or lemon juice. Serve with the feta cheese sprinkled over the top.
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
Per Serving: Calories: 210; Total Fat: 11.6 g (1.5 g saturated, 7.8 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 21 g; Protein: 7 g; Fiber: 5 g; Sodium: 195 mg
Who Knew? Carpe Diem!
For most people going through cancer-even those having a really rough time-there's generally a point between treatment sessions when you'll find yourself feeling a little more energetic and a little less blah. Michael Broffman, an acupuncturist who also utilizes herbs and foods to help numerous cancer patients at his Pine Street Clinic in Marin County, says these good days are a great opportunity for a culinary workout: "We encourage our patients to use those days to take the time to assess their cooking skills, cook something, get a recipe out of a book, start to play with it, go to cooking classes, and deepen their skill sets. That way, once treatment is over, they're well on their way to organizing this on a regular basis."
About Rebecca Katz:
Rebecca Katz is re-defining the concept of health-supportive cuisine in a way that's proving deliciously irresistible to patients and professionals alike. Using equal parts warm kitchen-table wisdom and credible scientific knowledge, Rebecca has helped thousands of people improve their health as they battle chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
Author of One Bite at a Time, a breakthrough cookbook for cancer survivors and their loved ones, Rebecca is a nationally-recognized speaker who receives endorsements from the country's leading oncologists and cancer wellness professionals.
Whether as a consultant, speaker, teacher or chef, Rebecca works hand-in-hand with patients, physicians, nurses, and wellness professionals striving to include the powerful tool of nutrition in their medical arsenal.